At Kochi meeting of SC group, Modi says he is ‘victim of untouchability’

Modi said most reformers in the last century were from backward communities who helped uplift the downtrodden.

Kochi | Updated: February 10, 2014 3:58 am
Highlighting his humble upbringing as the son of a woman who used to clean utensils in the neighbourhood, Modi said he had raised his voice against untouchability from his school days. (IE Photo) Highlighting his humble upbringing as the son of a woman who used to clean utensils in the neighbourhood, Modi said he had raised his voice against untouchability from his school days. (IE Photo)

Addressing a meeting of a prominent scheduled cast organisation in Kochi on Sunday, Gujarat chief minister and BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi played to the hilt his Dalit card. Modi was inaugurating the centenary celebration of Kayal Sammelan (lake meeting), organised by SC outfit Kerala Pulayar Maha Sabha (KPMS). A century back, Dalits in Kochi held a meeting on a flotilla in the backwaters when the then rulers did not permit the backward community to organise meetings on land.

Noting the absence of Kochi Mayor, a Congress leader, at the venue despite his name on the invitation letter, Modi said that “Even I am living in this society as a victim of untouchability.” He said in the last century, those who had brought changes in the country were either from the backward community or who had dedicated their lives for the Dalits.

Highlighting his humble upbringing as the son of a woman who used to clean utensils in the neighbourhood, Modi said he had raised his voice against untouchability from his school days.

“Mark my words that in the next ten years the backward community will rule in India,” said Modi. He also touched the local grouse of the backward community by claiming that their social reformer Ayyankali was not adequately honoured for his contributions. “We should have a memorial for Ayyankali who helped in the community’s upliftment. The responsibility to raise a memorial for Ayyankali is also assigned to me.’’

Attacking the Gandhi family indirectly, Modi said certain people think whatever happened in the country over the last 60 years was due to the toil of a single family. “Normally, politicians are blamed for working towards their own family’s interest. However, I have not done anything for my family. But, if I come to power in 2014, I want to do something for my family. That would not be my biological family, it would be the backward community,” Modi said.

Pointing towards the SC crowd in front of him, Modi said, “This is my family. I was born and brought up here. Justice is our right and Dr B R Ambedkar’s commandments of educate, organise and agitate are still relevant.”

Stating that the backward communities were victims of vote-bank politics, Modi said it has created tension between communities and pitted people against each other. The last 60 years has only witnessed the divide and rule policy as they are experts in spewing poison,” said Modi, in another veiled attack on Sonia Gandhi’s comment ‘zehar ki kheti’ on BJP.

Hitting out at the Ranganath Misra Commission report for religious and linguistic minorities, Modi said the commission was an attempt to rob the Dalits of their rights envisaged in the constitution. Nobody has the right to take back the privileges given by Ambedkar. The Misra commission report was an attempt to sow seeds of hatred.

Backward Ezhava Hindu leader and general secretary of Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam Vellappally Nateshan, who was also part of the meeting questioned if it was appropriate to consider Modi as an untouchable. “Only recently did I get to know that although fair-skinned, Modi is from a backward community. When you assume power in Delhi, you should not forget the support you have received from the people of this community. Remember these dark-skinned people and give back their due rights,” said Nateshan.

Nateshan’s Ezhava community is mainly a Left vote-bank in Kerala.

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  1. R
    Rahul
    Feb 9, 2014 at 5:03 pm
    why now remember untouchability? where were u all this while?
    Reply
    1. R
      Rahul
      Feb 9, 2014 at 5:03 pm
      why now remember untouchability? where were u all this while?
      Reply
      1. G
        GeoK
        Feb 10, 2014 at 4:33 pm
        This is kerala Mr.Modi. Your Gimmicks wont work here. We are immune to vote bank, caste etc. If the candidate is good we will vote.
        Reply
        1. B
          Bina Chava
          Feb 9, 2014 at 6:08 pm
          Hi, dont shed your crocodile tears, what happened to iurappa? Modi will be sacrificed by BJP and RSS to win the election. Modi is expendable? Modi straightaway walking into the trap. Poor Modi!
          Reply
          1. B
            Bina Chava
            Feb 9, 2014 at 6:08 pm
            Hi, dont shed your crocodile tears, what happened to iurappa? Modi will be sacrificed by BJP and RSS to win the election. Modi is expendable? Modi straightaway walking into the trap. Poor Modi!
            Reply
            1. I
              Iqbal
              Feb 9, 2014 at 2:43 pm
              BJP has always been good at playing the religion and caste cards. It goes well with its agenda to portray saffron clad candidates as the face of Hinduism and exploit the caste composition and schmaltziness of older and conservative voters. BJP already has influence among the upper Hindu castes and OBC ideny of its PM nominee can work in favor of the party particularly in crucial state like UP where the upper castes and the OBC together make for more than 50 per cent of its poce and sends 80 MPs to Lok Sabha. Now he is trying to portray himself as a defender of Dalits. Generally BJP and its candidates do not have any time to waste in reuring the apprehensive minorities and preaching secularism. With the rising pority of NaMo there are concerns that he will adopt a polarizing strategy to win votes. Not good news for our nation.
              Reply
              1. I
                Iqbal
                Feb 9, 2014 at 2:43 pm
                BJP has always been good at playing the religion and caste cards. It goes well with its agenda to portray saffron clad candidates as the face of Hinduism and exploit the caste composition and schmaltziness of older and conservative voters. BJP already has influence among the upper Hindu castes and OBC ideny of its PM nominee can work in favor of the party particularly in crucial state like UP where the upper castes and the OBC together make for more than 50 per cent of its poce and sends 80 MPs to Lok Sabha. Now he is trying to portray himself as a defender of Dalits. Generally BJP and its candidates do not have any time to waste in reuring the apprehensive minorities and preaching secularism. With the rising pority of NaMo there are concerns that he will adopt a polarizing strategy to win votes. Not good news for our nation.
                Reply
                1. M
                  Mahi Kumari
                  Feb 10, 2014 at 8:23 am
                  BJP's Narender Modi is a master of words. Aiming at winning 2014 elections and to fulfil his dream of becoming the PM of India, he is making sky high promises to the people of the country whether it be south, northeast, central India, eastern India or western India. In Kochi he has donned the Kochi cap and is trying to impress south people. Has he ever before visited these places and talked to people like this? Election time and so much concern. Till now he was just talking Gujarat now he has suddenly become concerned about all the states and the people of India. What hypocracy.
                  Reply
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